中英文:桂从友大使就中欧、中瑞经贸投资合作和防控抗疫接受瑞典日报专访

2020-05-28 00:04:59 来源:中国驻瑞典使馆

5月27日,桂从友大使在使馆通过视频连线就中欧、中瑞经贸投资合作和防控抗疫接受《瑞典日报》记者福斯贝里专访,主要内容如下。


桂从友大使


问:现在有一些对中方“抄底”欧盟领先企业的“恐惧”,有欧盟官员日前表示中国可能会利用当前疫情来收购欧洲公司。大使先生对此怎么看?

答:这种恐惧完全没有必要。人类社会经济发展史同时也是各国之间不断开放、交流、合作的历史。各国长期以来不断扩大开放、交流、合作,不仅促进了本国社会经济发展,也促进了整个世界的发展。中欧长期互为主要经贸投资合作伙伴,包括瑞典在内的欧盟国家积极参与中国改革开放和经济建设,为中国社会经济发展做出了积极贡献,我们对此表示欢迎。近年来,中国每年吸引来自包括欧盟国家在内的上千亿美元外资,为推动中国社会经济发展发挥了重要作用。随着自身经济发展,中国也涌现出一大批世界领先的有实力的企业,他们愿意走出国门开展对外、对欧投资,促进了包括欧盟国家的社会经济发展和就业,欧盟从中国企业投资中受益。但中国企业对欧投资自2016年达到顶峰后开始下降。2019年中国对欧投资比2016年下降约三分之一。这有多方面原因。一是近年来欧盟国家经济增速放缓,2019年欧盟27国经济增长率仅为1.4%,影响了中企对欧投资。二是近年来欧盟对中国企业投资采取了过分规制的做法,妨碍了中企对欧投资。中国正在实行新一轮对外开放,向外资企业提供更加优惠的条件,包括准入前国民待遇、简化行政手续等。我们欢迎包括瑞典在内的欧盟国家企业扩大对华投资,同时也希望包括瑞典在内的欧盟国家坚持贸易自由化、投资便利化,反对保护主义,消除对中国企业的一些隐性歧视行为,保障中国企业在市场准入、资质许可、政府采购、项目申请、标准制定方面享受同等待遇。到目前为止,我没有听说有哪家中国企业要趁疫情来瑞典或欧盟国家“抄底”收购。如果有中国企业在疫情期间来瑞典或者欧盟国家收购的话,这也是正常的商业行为、企业自主行为,中国政府没有这样的政策。中国政府也不可能指挥哪一家企业来瑞典、来欧盟收购哪家企业。企业之间的合作,无论是中企来瑞典、欧盟投资,还是瑞典、欧盟企业到中国投资,都要以企业为主体、遵循市场原则。任何非市场原则的投资,包括所谓“抄底”,都是不可持续的。中国老古话说,做人不能乘人之危,不能落井下石。


问:还有一种“恐惧”是中方企业对欧盟投资是为了把技术转移到中国,大使先生对此有何评论?

答:国际科技合作是推动世界科技发展的重要动力。高科技合作同样要以企业为主体、按市场原则来进行。中方支持中外高科技企业合作,同时严格保护知识产权,并出台了一系列有力举措。正如我多次向瑞方朋友们说的那样,如果瑞方企业发现中方企业有违反知识产权保护的行为,完全可以向中国知识产权法庭提起诉讼。我们对企业之间的正常合作都应予以支持,而不是设置障碍。


问:大使先生对投资对等问题怎么看?您提到中方企业有权在欧洲投资,而欧洲企业对华投资也应享有同等条件。

答:包括瑞典在内的欧盟国家对华投资为促进中国经济发展和提高人民生活水平发挥了积极作用,我们一直持欢迎态度。随着经济高质量发展,14亿中国人民要过上更美好的生活,中国更加需要包括欧盟在内的外资。近年来中国政府宣布了一系列进一步扩大对外开放、吸引外资的举措,包括外资企业享受准入前国民待遇,开放外商独资企业对保险、汽车等领域的投资。我们也注意到一些瑞典企业家对中国提供完全对等投资条件的关切。毫无疑问,这是中国经济发展和对外开放合作的大方向。但坦率地讲,我们要完全取消某些领域对外商投资的限制还有一定难度,因为我们在经济发展质量和水平、市场发育程度等方面都与瑞典和欧盟国家有很大差距。就像百米赛跑一样,你们出发早,我们出发晚,你们要求双方同时达到终点并不现实,也不公平。瑞典的人均GDP早就超过5万美元,中国刚刚达到1万美元,双方还有不小差距。在相互开放市场方面,重要的是我们都朝着同一个方向前进。


问:大使先生是否担心外界对中方在疫情初期做法的批评会影响中国对瑞投资?

答:疫情随时可能在世界任何国家、任何地区暴发,人类发展史就是一部不断同各种疫情作斗争并最终战胜疫情的历史。中国武汉最早报告了新冠肺炎病例,但这并不等于病毒就源自武汉。病毒溯源是科学、专业的问题,应交由科学家去研究。这次疫情突如其来,而且这个病毒极为狡猾,传播性极强,包括中国在内的世界各国科学家还没有研究透,需要一个不断认识的过程。对中国早期应对疫情提出批评指责是不公正的。最早在美国发现的H1N1病毒、非洲发现的埃博拉病毒,到现在也没有研究出源头。中国政府采取最全面、最严格、最彻底的防控措施,在70多天的时间里控制住了疫情,为全球抗疫作出了巨大贡献。中国疫情防控已取得战略性成果,中国政府正在采取进一步措施防控疫情,包括对武汉约一千万人进行全面检测。正是因为采取了最全面、最严格、最彻底的防控措施,中国才有条件恢复同有关国家的经贸投资合作和人员往来。相信包括瑞典内的各国企业家对尽快恢复同中国的经贸投资合作都是有信心的。如果你有意愿,在防控措施允许的情况下,我们欢迎你和你的同事到中国去现场采访。


问:大使先生和使馆在帮助中国企业发现瑞典投资项目方面扮演什么角色?

答:中国驻外使馆的任务之一是为双方企业合作提供服务。至于企业在瑞典的具体经营活动,我们使馆从不干预。作为使馆,我们首先向在瑞中国公民和企业提供领事保护,保护他们的正当合法权益。第二是督促在瑞中国公民和企业遵守当地法律法规,确保在瑞经贸投资活动符合瑞典产业政策。第三是督促在瑞中国企业与当地社会友好相处,回馈当地社会。实际上,瑞典到底有哪些中国企业、具体经营什么,我本人也不完全清楚。企业经营是企业自身的事,我作为大使和使馆同事不干预。世界各国驻外使节和使馆是外交人员和外交机构,不是商业机构。


问:大使先生本人可能不参与,但你的同事会帮助中国投资者调查瑞典的企业,帮助他们寻找合作伙伴吗?

答:各国使馆都有负责双边经贸合作事务的官员,他们的主要任务是了解驻在国的经济形势和政策,为本国企业提供信息咨询服务和政策指导,为双方企业合作牵线搭桥。但是使馆的商务官员不会代替企业做决定,企业投资行为归根到底是商业行为,自负盈亏。


视频连线专访


问:大使先生对瑞典为维护国家安全而出台投资审查的法律有什么看法?

答:首先,任何国家都有权采取措施维护本国国家安全,同时我们反对将经贸投资问题泛安全化,以所谓“国家安全”为借口干扰正常的商业合作。前几天我从瑞典媒体了解到,瑞典Tele2公司已经使用华为设备运营5G网络,瑞典能源与数字化发展大臣于格曼表示采用华为设备运营5G网络没有问题。实际上,现在世界上主要国家运行的4G网络都部分采用了华为设备,没听说影响了哪个国家的安全。美国打压华为,用的都是可能性猜测而非事实。我们坚决反对以国家安全为借口来限制企业间的正常合作,坚决反对某些国家采取所谓国家安全审查措施打压某一特定企业。重要的是用事实说话,不能仅凭“可能”和猜测。


问:中国现在有选择性地放开对一些外国商人的准入,我知道德国商人已经被允许进入中国,瑞典商人是否会被包括在内?中方有这方面的时间表吗?

答:突如其来的疫情对包括瑞典在内的各国经济都造成了严重冲击,也对各国间正常的经贸投资合作和人员往来造成很大影响。随着中国国内疫情得到有效控制,我们希望尽快恢复同经贸投资合作伙伴之间的合作。考虑到包括瑞典在内的世界多数国家的疫情还未得到有效控制,我们希望在保持有效防控措施前提下尽快恢复经贸投资合作和人员往来。中国和韩国在友好协商的基础上,已经率先开通了经贸投资合作和人员往来“绿色通道”和“快捷通道”。中方正与包括主要贸易投资伙伴在内的其他国家商讨建立类似机制,为双方经贸投资合作和人员往来创造条件。中瑞互为重要经贸投资合作伙伴,中国是瑞典第八大贸易伙伴,瑞典是中国在北欧第一大贸易伙伴。鉴于当前瑞典疫情,如果等到病例清零之后再恢复经贸投资和人员往来并不现实,双方的企业和投资商也等不起。我们愿意与瑞方积极探讨在严格防控的前提下恢复正常经贸投资合作和人员往来的创造性办法。中方愿在检测设备和人员方面提供支持和帮助。


问:大使先生说“在严格防控的前提下”,具体是指瑞典国内的抗疫策略还是指拟赴华的瑞典商人?

答:我指的是为了尽快恢复双方经贸投资合作和人员往来,双方商量一个能够防止疫情输入的创造性办法。至于瑞典国内的防控措施,首先我要强调,中国向来主张互不干涉内政,我们支持瑞典政府和人民的抗疫努力。我们知道有些国家对瑞典的抗疫策略有一些尖锐批评声音,我们认为各国有权根据自己的国情选择抗疫措施。我们向遭受疫情的瑞典人民表示慰问,向每一个逝去的生命表示深切哀悼。希望瑞典早日战胜疫情,中方愿继续为瑞方抗疫努力提供力所能及的支持和帮助。


问:美国和中国分别是瑞典的第七和第八大贸易伙伴,差距不是很大。大使先生认为今年中国对瑞贸易额有可能超过美国吗?

答:我没有做过这样的预测。中国能不能超过美国成为瑞典第七大贸易伙伴,取决于双方企业家和投资商们的努力,不取决于我们。我们主观上也没有这样的刻意追求。特朗普总统强烈希望美国保持“世界第一”,我们希望美国能够如愿,这样美国就不会总想着打压中国和其他国家了。


On 27 May, Ambassador Gui Congyou gave an exclusive online interview with Birgitta Forsberg from SVD on China-EU and China-Sweden trade and investment cooperation and pandemic response at the Embassy.

Q: There is a fear that there will be a big wave of Chinese investment into leading European companies. Some EU officials said it is possible that China may take advantage of the pandemic to buy European companies. What is your view on that?

Ambassador Gui: Such a fear is totally unnecessary. The history of world economic development is a history of openness, exchange and cooperation among countries. The growing open exchanges and cooperation among countries not only boosted their own socio-economic development, but also promoted the development of the whole world. China and the EU have long been each other’s major trading and investment partners. EU countries, including Sweden, actively participated in China’s reform, opening up and economic development, making positive contribution to socio-economic development of China, which we welcome. Every year, China attracts hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign investment including from the US and European countries. Such investment plays an important role in promoting China’s economic and social progress. As China grows economically, a large number of well-positioned leading Chinese companies emerged. These companies want to go global and invest in Europe, which helps EU countries’ economic growth and job creation. The EU also gained a lot from Chinese investment.

However, Chinese companies’ investment in Europe, since its peak in 2016, started to drop continuously. Chinese investment in Europe in 2019 decreased by about one third compared with 2016. There are a number of reasons behind the fall. First, economic growth in EU countries has been slowing down in recent years. In 2019, the economic growth rate in 27 EU countries was 1.4%, which made it less appealing for Chines companies to invest in Europe. Second, in recent years there has been overregulation by EU countries on Chinese companies’ investment, which also affected such investment. As China embraces a new round of opening up, foreign investors are accorded with more favorable conditions, including pre-establishment national treatment and simplified administrative procedures. We welcome EU companies, including Swedish companies, to expand investment in China, and hope EU countries including Sweden will continue to oppose protectionism, eliminate implicit discrimination against Chinese companies, and ensure equal treatment in market access, qualification accreditation, government procurement, project application and standard formulation.

So far I have not heard of any Chinese company that will take advantage of the pandemic to acquire EU companies. If there are some Chinese companies that come to Sweden or EU countries to conduct acquisitions, it is just normal business behavior and voluntary corporate behavior. The Chinese Government has no such policies, and neither is it possible for the Chinese Government to direct a company to acquire a Swedish or EU company. Cooperation among companies, be it Chinese investment in Sweden and the EU or the other way around, needs to be conducted by companies in keeping with market principles. Any investment not in keeping of market rules, including the so-called “acquisitions taking advantage of the pandemic”, is not sustainable. As Chinese people often say, one should not take advantage of another’s distress.

Q: There are fears that Chinese companies’ investment in the EU aims to take technology to China. What is your comment?

Ambassador Gui: International technological cooperation is an important driving force for global technological advancement. Cooperation between high-tech companies also needs to be conducted by companies as the entities following market principles. The Chines side supports cooperation between Chinese and foreign high-tech companies, and at the same time vigorously protects intellectual property rights with a series of strict measures. As I told Swedish friends on multiple occasions, if a Swedish company found a Chinese company violating its intellectual property rights, it can totally file a lawsuit at China’s intellectual property rights courts. We need to support normal cooperation between companies, instead of putting up fences.

Q: What about investment reciprocity? You mentioned Chinese companies can invest in Europe, and European companies also should have reciprocal rights to invest in China.

Ambassador Gui: Investment from Sweden and other EU countries in China contributed to China’s economic growth and improvement of living standards, which we welcome. As China pursues high quality economic development and 1.4 billion Chinese people are seeking a better life, China needs more foreign investment including that from the EU. Recent years saw the Chinese Government spelling out a series of measures to open up wider and attract foreign investment, including pre-establishment national treatment for foreign companies and opening up sectors such as insurance and automobile to investment of wholly owned foreign enterprises.

We are also aware that some Swedish business people want there to be completely reciprocal investment conditions in China. Undoubtedly, that is the overall direction that China’s economic development and open cooperation is moving towards. However, for us to remove all restrictions on foreign investment in some sectors, frankly speaking, is still difficult, because there is still a big gap between our two countries in the quality and level of economic development and market maturity. It is just like a 100-meter race, you started early and we started late, so it is neither realistic nor fair to ask you and us to reach the finishing line together. Per capita GDP of Sweden already exceeded USD 50,000, whereas that of China just reached USD 10,000. There is still a big difference. In terms of opening up markets to each other, what is important is for us to work towards the same direction.

Q: Are you worried that the criticism on China’s early epidemic response will affect Chinese investment in Sweden?

Ambassador Gui: An epidemic could happen in any country or place at any time. The history of humanity is a history of fighting and defeating various epidemics. COVID-19 cases were first reported in Wuhan, China, but it does not mean Wuhan is where the virus originated. Origin tracing is a scientific and professional matter that needs to be studied by scientists. This is a very cunning and contagious virus that caught us by surprise. Scientists around the world, including from China, still have not got to the bottom of it. They are still in the process of trying to learn more about it. To criticize or accuse China for its early response is not fair. For example, H1N1 was first found in the US and Ebola was first found in Africa, but their origins are still not determined. With the most comprehensive, strict and thorough measures, the Chinese Government contained the epidemic within about 70 days, contributing tremendously to global pandemic response. Building on this strategic achievement, the Chinese Government is taking further measures, including testing about 10 million residents in Wuhan. It is these most comprehensive, strict and thorough measures that put China in a position to be ready to resume trade, investment and people-to-people exchanges with other countries. I believe there is shared confidence among the business communities around the world in resuming business cooperation with China. If you want, after taking adequate precautions, you and your colleagues are also welcomed to report in China.

Q: What is the role of Mr. Ambassador and the Embassy in helping Chinese companies find investment projects in Sweden?

Ambassador Gui: Part of the job of the Chinese Government and Chinese embassies is to provide service for the cooperation between Chinese and foreign companies. When it comes to the companies’ specific business in Sweden, the Embassy never interferes with it. At the Embassy, our job is first about providing consular services to Chinese citizens and companies, to protect their legal rights and interests. Our job is also about reminding Chinese citizens and companies to abide by local laws and regulations, and ensure their investment activities in Sweden are in keeping with Swedish industrial policies. Third, we encourage Chinese companies in Sweden to get along with and contribute to local communities. In fact, I personally do not even have a full grasp of what Chinese companies are in Sweden and what businesses they are in. Business operation is conducted by companies, which I as ambassador and my colleagues do not interfere with. Ambassadors and diplomatic missions of all countries are diplomats and diplomatic organizations, not commercial organizations.

Q: Mr. Ambassador, you may not be part of it, but do your colleagues help Chinese investors screen Swedish companies and help them find business partners?

Ambassador Gui: All embassies have officials whose responsibility is business cooperation. Their main duty is to understand the economic situation and policies of the hosting countries, to provide information consulting services and policy guidance for companies from their home countries and help them build bridges. But the commercial officials will not make decisions for the companies. At the end of the day, corporate investment is business behavior, and it is the companies that take responsibility for their own profits and losses.

Q: Sweden adopted investment screening laws to protect its national security. What do you make of it?

Ambassador Gui: First, every country has the right to defend its national security. However, we oppose abusing the concept of “national security” on trade and investment issues, or using “national security” as a pretext to interfere with normal business cooperation. A couple of days ago, I read on Swedish media that Tele2 is rolling out 5G with Huawei equipment, and Swedish Minister for Energy and Digital Development Mr. Anders Ygeman saw no problem with having Huawei in Sweden’s 5G network. As a matter of fact, the 4G networks in most major countries around the world are already using Huawei, and I never heard any country’s security was affected because of that. The US accusations of Huawei are all speculations instead of facts. We firmly oppose restricting normal cooperation between companies under the pretext of national security, and firmly oppose some countries using so-called “national security screening” to target a specific company. We need to let facts speak, not speculations or suspicions.

Q: China is selectively open to some foreign business people. I know German business people are allowed to enter China. Will Swedish business people also be allowed? Is there a timeframe for that?

Ambassador Gui: The pandemic that caught all of us by surprise had severe impacts on all economies including Sweden. It also restricted trade, investment and people-to-people exchanges. As the epidemic gets under control in China, we hope to resume cooperation with trade and investment partners as soon as possible. Considering the epidemic in most countries including Sweden is still not effectively contained, we hope to resume trade, investment and travels as soon as possible after taking thorough precautions. Through friendly consultations, China and the ROK have opened a “green channel” or “expressway” of trade, investment and travel. The Chinese side is in discussion with its major trading partners to establish similar mechanisms, to create conditions for our business and people-to-people exchanges to be resumed. China is Sweden’s 8th largest trading partner, and Sweden is China’s largest Nordic trading partner. Given the epidemic situation in Sweden, it is not realistic to wait till all COVID-19 cases are eliminated to resume exchanges, neither can our companies and investors afford to wait. We are willing to work with the Swedish side to actively explore a creative way to resume exchanges under the precondition of observing strict precautions. The Chinese side is willing to provide support and help in terms of testing equipment and personnel.

Q: By “under the precondition of observing strict precautions”, do you mean Sweden’s epidemic response or Swedish business people that are going to China?

Ambassador Gui: What I mean is that to resume trade, investment cooperation and people-to-people exchanges as soon as possible, our two sides need to work out a creative solution to prevent import cases. Regarding Sweden’s response to COVID-19, first I want to stress that China always stands for non-interference, and we support the response efforts by Swedish Government and people. We know some countries have sharp criticisms on Sweden’s strategy. But we believe each country has the right to choose measures suited to its own national conditions. We want to express sympathies to the people affected by the epidemic in Sweden, and extend deep condolences to every loss of life. We hope Sweden will defeat the virus soon, and the Chines side is willing to continue to provide support and help to Sweden within our capacity.

Q: The US and China are respectively Sweden’s 7th and 8th largest trading partners, and they are not far apart on the list. Do you think China may surpass the US in its trade volume with Sweden?

Ambassador Gui: I never made such a prediction. Whether China will surpass the US to become the 7th largest trading partner of Sweden depends on Chinese and Swedish entrepreneurs and investors. It is not up to us, and we do not have such a goal. Given how President Trump fervently wants to keep “America First”, let’s just hope the US will keep being the first, so it won’t be so obsessed with suppressing China and other countries.